Do You Know Which Social Media Site Is Best for Your Business?
If a business’s customer-base doesn’t use social media in the present, they might in the future. An estimated 2.7 billion people will be using social media by 2019 to talk, tweet and communicate. That’s a huge market.
Social media marketing, however, isn’t as simple as just signing up for a service. As a small business digital marketing agency, we know that it can be overwhelming to try and figure out where you should put your social media focus. Each social media platform caters to particular audiences, and a business shouldn’t waste its time creating material that doesn’t appeal to potential customers.
So, if you could choose only 1 social media channel, do you know which one would be the best for your business?
Before creating multiple accounts across multiple platforms, a business must understand what each social media platform does, its audiences and quirks. That way when it comes time to choose which social media platform will work best for a business, it will be able to find success instead of spinning its wheels sending messages to a social media community where no one wants to listen.
The Social Media Rundown
As the most well-known social network, Facebook has a tremendously diverse audience numbering past 1.6 billion active users. And despite recent claims otherwise, it’s not just for older demographics. Although many online publications have noted Facebook shrinking in popularity among younger audiences, younger users continue to outnumber their older counterparts.
To use Facebook, businesses can set up a “page” much like a personal profile, which can then publish links and other content. Successful Facebook marketers often turn to attention-grabbing imagery in the form of pictures, gifs or videos. Content covering controversial topics also tends to do well on the platform. No matter the underlying tactic, content should be both authentic and consistent, and administrators must be able and willing to respond quickly to any customer comments.
Note: As with most social media sites today, Facebook’s organic promotion is less than desirable, meaning even a little advertising money is doubly important when growing a following.
Who Should Use Facebook?
If a business is looking to talk to its customers outside of working hours, Facebook is most likely a good fit. For that reason, B2C businesses tend to do better on Facebook than B2B businesses. However, because of Facebook’s extended audience, almost any industry can work well on Facebook. The trick is consistent updates (NOT spam) interacting with commenters, and investing at least a little money into promoting your own posts. Success relies heavily on a business’s engagement on the site.
Strongly consider if you are a: Counseling practice, restaurant, consumer product, media agency or a similar B2C business.
Twitter is one of those social networks that can work really well or be a complete waste of time, and it’s not always easy to understand why either way. The demographics of Twitter trend toward 18-to 29- year-old individuals with college educations living in urban areas. It is also populated with executives and thought leaders across a range of industries.
Business success with Twitter requires engaging a particular niche and living in it completely – developing a community, starting conversations and sharing content on the issues of that niche. Twitter tends to take more time than other social networks due to the low staying power of a single Tweet (quantity is a major influence in keeping relevancy). Social media auto-posting programs such as Buffer or Hootsuite can reduce the time needed for Twitter management, but it can be dangerous to set Twitter and forget it as Twitter’s success is often dependent on how actively a business is engaging with its audience.
With that being said, Twitter can deliver exceptional results if a business is dedicated to its success. Again, that means sponsoring posts, creating quality content and actively searching out conversations with individuals in a business’s decided niche.
Who Should Use Twitter?
Since Twitter has a large demographic of young, urban and educated individuals, any business serving that cross section will do well on Twitter. Successful businesses, however, will work to identify the conversations they wish to take part in and provide useful information to other Twitter users to prove influence.
Strongly consider if you are a: Startup, technology firm, marketing agency, media outlet( magazine, newspaper etc.)
After the recent news of Microsoft acquiring LinkedIn, it will be interesting to see what the tech company decides to do with the social network. For now, the platform remains a great place to connect with individuals and target an older and richer crowd than LinkedIn’s competing social networks.
Unlike the majority of other platforms, LinkedIn works great for B2B businesses. Consequently, due to its somewhat expensive advertising costs and business-centric nature, LinkedIn isn’t usually seen to be a great option for B2C industries.
However, LinkedIn can be exceptionally useful for selling products with long sales cycles. Individual salesmen will often use the network to send invites to “connect”, start long sales conversations and get their name out there. The expanded Pulse feature (the name for a LinkedIn blog post) is also great for outlining a business’s philosophy on industry controversies.
As for functionality, businesses can create a company page and post content on the page’s feed. Like its competitors, organic growth can be difficult to maintain, and sponsored content tends to get more notice.
Who Should Use LinkedIn?
More than any other social platform, B2B businesses should look to LinkedIn. While there’s plenty to be said about engaging B2B audiences on the other social media platforms, LinkedIn remains one of the largest meeting places for business professionals, and if that’s the demographic a business wishes to engage, it can do no better than utilize LinkedIn.
Strongly consider if you are a: Copywriter, consultant, insurance provider, business technology/ software provider, manufacturer, or a similar B2B business.
Purchased by Facebook in 2012, Instagram is a photo sharing app that has attracted mostly college-aged women although it has somewhat decent demographic stats with other subsets – roughly 1 in 4 individuals use Instagram across the board.
Business success on Instagram relies on finding a way to communicate a unique viewpoint on the world through creative photographs and by utilizing hashtags. Backstage looks and behind-the-scene insights work well on this platform.
Recently, Instagram has released its “Instagram for Business” tools, which includes expanded advertising capabilities and allows businesses to target specific demographics with sponsored content.
Who Should Use Instagram?
If a business can’t find a way to tell its story through a visually engaging way, then it probably shouldn’t be on Instagram. For Instagram users, it’s all about great visual content, and if a business can’t deliver on that promise, there’s little reason to use Instagram. With that being said, if a business is looking to engage a younger audience, it might want to figure out a way to use the visual medium as Instagram caters to a younger demographic.
Strongly consider if you are a: Photographer, fitness studio, real estate firm, design firm, outdoor tours/adventure provider, or similar.
If you are still unsure, Be sure to check out our in-depth look at Instagram.
Simply put, Pinterest’s primary demographic is women. And for businesses who do a lot of business with women, it can be an exceptional tool. Functionality of this platform includes “pinning” visual content onto specific “boards” which users can then flick through. Similar to Instagram, businesses can find success on Pinterest if they can tell a unique “story” through visual means.
Advertising on this platform isn’t as evolved as some of its competitors (for example, video ads aren’t widely available), but Pinterest is actively looking to change that as it continues to experiment with increased capabilities.
Who Should Use Pinterest?
Businesses looking to engage with women of all ages have a pretty good chance at using Pinterest to their benefit. .Also, businesses will need to take a page out of Instagram’s book and create engaging visual content in order to be successful.
Strongly consider if you are a : Wedding planner, Craft maker or supplier, content creator, or a business who’s main audience is a female demographic.
The youngest social network with consequently the youngest demographic stats, Snapchat is the biggest hit with younger “Millennials”. It also comes with some unique challenges for business-related content; the social network uses vertical images and videos often taken from a smartphone’s camera to communicate. For businesses to succeed, they have to create engaging images incorporating the strange dimensions and understand the demands of mobile viewing.
Instead of advertising directly with Snapchat, many businesses have taken to engaging with “influencers”, or individuals with many followers, to get more eyes on their products – a tactic most common with younger more visual networks.
Who Should Use Snapchat?
Snapchat’s young demographic and its need for novel content is definitely an up-and-coming opportunity for many businesses – especially those looking to engage younger Millennals. With that said, businesses able to provide engaging visual content à la Pinterest and Instagram will also be able to find success when using Snapchat.
The above six social platforms aren’t the only social networks out there, but they currently attract the widest audiences In this blog, we’ve covered some of the basics. However, if a business is looking for great results, a full social media strategy is required. If you have any questions, are curious about what we can provide, or are overwhelmed at the prospect of managing your social media, send us a line!